by Bill Rojas, SAP Digital
One of the best aspects of working for SAP Digital is how we can make opportunities happen – opportunities for customers, partners, developers, individuals, businesses large and small, and the list goes on. Take, for example, ePhiphony, which just listed its product on SAPStore.com, Where else could a small start-up company find an ecommerce platform that enables it to sell its product with a simple, seamless click-through process, supported by a company with the global presence and resources of SAP? And where else can someone go online and buy sophisticated business software at a low price point and put it to use instantly? It’s a beautiful thing.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll be writing a series of blogs featuring partners with offerings on SAP Store. The first is ePhiphony and its RightOn MRP Optimization app powered by SAP HANA, the invention of John Krech, who launched the company about 10 years ago. Targeted to companies with complex supply chains like retailers and automotive companies, as well as the suppliers themselves, RightOn MRP Optimization helps them with highly sophisticated analysis of material requirements planning, or MRP. According to ePhiphony, it’s the first and only solution on the market that can predict the optimum MRP settings that controllers can enter into their SAP ERP application to help balance customer demand, product inventory, and production levels.
For example, the app can analyze the financial cost of inventory, and tie that back to actual supplier performance. Is the supplier meeting or exceeding its lead times? Is there a pattern of over- or under-delivering? How can adjustments be made in planning processes to reduce costs and carried inventory? And on the supplier side, how can processes be improved to better meet customer expectations? In short, the app standardizes, simplifies, and optimizes processes that have been notoriously complex.
That’s precisely the problem that John set out to solve when he launched the company. After some 20 years working for 3M and then Deluxe Corp. (the checkbook company), he’d witnessed the struggles companies experienced trying to determine how much to order, when to order, and how much to keep in reserve. Everyone had their own spreadsheet method, he told me, and no one wanted to make a change for fear of setting off an adverse chain reaction; it was impossible to see the larger picture.
The demand was there, no doubt about it. In fact, recent surveys reported that some US$800 billion is tied up in excess inventory in the U.S. and Europe.* And John found success when he first took the product to market. But in 2014, he made a major strategic decision: to join the SAP Startup Focus program, an accelerator for startups focused on Big Data and predictive and real-time analytics that are developing new applications on the SAP HANA platform. In short, he explained, SAP HANA has the speed and power to run predictive analytics very fast to help users determine their optimum MRP parameters.
And now, two years later, RightOn MRP Optimization is an SAP-validated application listed on SAP Store. And here’s where I can explain another point about opportunities. Imagine a supply chain professional – one of John’s peers – learning about RightOn MRP Optimization and wanting to give it a try. No need to enter a purchase requisition. No need to get a pilot approved. No need to wait months for an implementation. No need for IT support. With a low price point that doesn’t involve a capital expenditure, and simple cloud deployment, that pilot can be up and running in days. Then, with the proof of concept in place, scaling up is an easy next step.
I asked John what’s next for ePhiphony. He mentioned that one significant milestone was winning an honorable mention in the SAP HANA Innovation Award competition a few weeks ago. Now, he and his team are working on product improvements: tying it into SAP Fiori to improve the user experience, and streamlining and speeding up the onboarding process.
Look for more of these partner profiles in the next few weeks. All these partners are developing incredible innovations and supporting digital transformation across multiple industries and lines of business. Hope you enjoy the reading.
* The Hackett Group, 2014 Europe Working Capital Survey; The Hackett Group, 2014 U.S. Working Capital Survey.